Category Archives: Places outside US

Gay Brussels

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Tiny but exciting Brussels
By Sebastian Saenz @sebastiaenz

Most people in the world immediately relate Brussels with the sprouts. It may have a low profile in history, geography or (I’ve been told) sports. But one thing is certain: it’s friendliness and diversity are undeniably at the top.

This city is one of the most majestic in Europe: visiting the city center (UNESCO World Heritage Site) provokes the sensation of being in an ancient oil painting. The Town Hall (Hotel de Ville) is hard to miss, with one of the tallest towers in the city, and the Grand Palace and the Cathedral are genuine time traveling machines. Other excellent spots are the Musical Instruments Museum (where the pieces from any time and any place are authentic art pieces), Les Galeires Royales Saint-Hubert (to get the best Belgian chocolates and admire imperial architecture under a massive skylight) and Mini Europe (to get all the pictures worth of a month backpacking). Considering that here you can find the offices of the European Union and NATO, this city may be small, but also culturally and socially rich, and economically and politically stable.

 

brussels boy peeing fountain

And the gayness? To begin with, the symbol of Brussels is the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie fountain of a young boy who enjoys golden showers. Even before arriving to the capital, the train may be packed with cute tourists from all over the world (and already cruising). If you are lucky enough, a hot uniformed officer might not only check your passport. Hostels may not be the first choice for everyone, but if someone is ever going to opt for one, it should be in Brussels, since sharing a bedroom or a bathroom with the all-male young roommates may have its advantages *winks*. My choice: Van Gogh Youth Hostel: conveniently located, cheap (but not trashy at all), friendly, clean, cozy and where the painter actually had a workshop!

LGBTXYZ people from the whole kingdom and the continent visit this progressive capital for some fun. Even though there is no such thing as a gay district, walking around the city center is enough proof that the whole capital is as gay as the day is long, since there are visible and welcoming flags here and there. Most venues are located on the Rue du Marché au Charbon/Kolenmarkt (which smells like Abercrombie & Fitch aftershave). Must visit: Macho Sauna (the most popular in its category), La Belgica (busy and fun bar), Le Baroque (for bears and hunters) and ABrussel (trendy atmosphere for delicious food). Get ready for the sensual accent, and practice your “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir”.

Need more LGBT reasons? The former Belgian Prime Minister, the social-democrat Elio di Rupo, plays on our team (one of the few national leaders out of the closet). The sexy bear and fashion designer Walter Van Beirendonck is another pride character of the country: his aesthetic is loud, incorporating vivid colors, burkas and unconventional jackets. He even displays his designs on XXL models from London and Paris, and among his clientele was the late Robbin Williams.

Don’t forget to get a street Belgian waffle, a raspberry beer, but most importantly: garlic mussels from the pot (at any traditional food restaurant at the city center, ask your waiter how to eat them like a true local). They might be the best gastronomic experience of my life.

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Hotel Germs in your Room

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No one really knows who was in their hotel room before them. Or what kind of mess they made. Maybe it was a bachelor party and the boys got drunk and threw up. Maybe it was used for prostitution and all the sexually transmitted diseases it brings. Yes it happens, especially in the best hotels. Or maybe someone got a really bad virus infection. Worse somebody died in the room. Hotel germs are a fact of life. With so many people using these rooms, hotel germs will tend to be higher than in your house.

The important question is did the cleaning staff really clean everything properly? The TV remote control, the bed light lamp switch, the toilet seat and handle. Cleaning staff are under enormous pressure to clean fast. On average, housekeepers clean 13 to 15 rooms a day, but it can be as high as 30 at some hotels. And there is no universal standard for cleaning hotel rooms.

Like our hospitals, hotels are becoming places where anti biotic resistant bacteria are beginning to thrive. Why? Because of the constant use of commercial cleaning agents combined with heavy use of antibiotics in our meat production systems have created these super bugs. Hotel rooms are places where a huge number of people from all over the country and World bring their own strains of bacteria. And if they bring that strain of disinfectant/antibiotic resistant bacteria you are screwed. As the video below shows, staff are also using sponges and toilet brushes to clean other surfaces which adds to the problem. Fecal contamination from toilet brushes can be deadly, especially if they are used to scrub surfaces other than the toilet.

Just because your room looks spic-n-span doesn’t necessarily make it so. Our friends at Oyster.com dish the dirt on hotel cleaning practices and offer tips on how to freshen up after checking in.

First of all, let’s just start out by saying that not every hotel room is secretly swarming with skin cells of past guests, E. coli, and/or unidentified bodily fluids. Every hotel has different protocol, schedules, and cleaning staff that determine just how clean your temporary home is going to be. We aren’t dumb (and neither are you); we know that not all maids are spending hours scrubbing, buffing, and spraying down every surface and crevice of our hotel rooms. But after digging, we uncovered some pretty dirty secrets of hotel “cleaning” practices, hiding in the sheets, on your pillows, across the bathroom counter, in the glasses you drink from — pretty much everywhere. Think you’re better off not knowing about how dirty the bedsheets are or what infectious bacteria is colonizing on that remote control? Trust us, it’s better to know — and know how to deal with it. And we’re here to help.

Glasses  and  Mugs. Tv remotes  and  telephones. Bedding and more!

READ ABOUT IT AT  JETSETTER.

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Curaçao embraces the Gays and Lesbians

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With exceptional gay friendly hotels and attractions, the Curaçao Tourist Board encourages gay and lesbian travelers to visit the island and experience its ‘Live and let live’ atmosphere for themselves.

“It is important to us that it’s known to the gay & lesbian community that everyone is welcome in Curaçao. Our island offers diverse culture, art galleries, beaches, museums, fine accommodations and exquisite cuisine that are enjoyed by all visitors to the island.” commented the Executive Director of the Curaçao Tourist Board.

curacao gay lgbt

They have  worked  hard  the last few years to make the island a destination  for the LGBT community. They just  presented the third edition of the Curaçao Pride.  A  5- day long event filled with parties and activities.

The dedicated destination website www.gaycuracao.com  lists the gay-friendly weekend hot spots, citing Floris Suite Hotel’s Rainbow Lounge every Friday, with the “Spoil Me” Happy Hour, Otra Cosa Curaçao’s gay bar along with gay-friendly places to visit as Mambo Beach as the place to be every Saturday night while Cabana Beach on Friday night and Wet & Wild on Sunday night.

Curaçao, located just two and one half hours from Miami, is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is perfectly situated just outside of the hurricane belt.
This tropical island boasts an eclectic mix of history and culture, which has served to create a Caribbean experience unlike any other.  Also known for its eco-tourism and pristine diving conditions, Curaçao attracts the adventure traveler as well as those looking to unwind and enjoy its perfect climate.  Visitors to Curaçao will enjoy the more than 30 white sand beaches, 18-hole championship golf course, amazing dolphin interaction program, casinos and much more.

more information on Curaçao or to receive a free destination DVD contact 1-800-3-CURACAO (1-800-328-7222) or visit www.curacao.com

 

 

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Gay Wedding Deal in Puerto Vallarta

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PLOOKING FOR A DESTINATION WEDDING?

COSTA SUR RESORT & SPA WILL PAY FOR IT!
Puerto Vallarta’s Popular Wedding Resort Splurges on Guests with Free Wedding with Booking

Costa Sur Resort & Spa has launched its “All Inclusive Free Wedding Package” giving away most elements of a wedding with a 10 room booking. – This hotel and resort is GORGEOUS!  We have toured the property and the it is a spectacular setting right on the ocean.

Located in Mexico’s Pacific Coast destination of Puerto Vallarta, is one of the destination’s most popular wedding resorts, already hosting hundreds of weddings year-round, including over 200 LGBT ceremonies.

The property has a full in-house wedding staff and able to provide not only a secluded beach-front wedding but all the amenities needed for a world-class wedding.

The hotel’s wedding package promotion is based on a 10 room booking for a minimum of 2 nights; Costa Sur will give the happy couple a complimentary wedding banquet, Costa Sur Resort & Spa special table setting with round tables and Tiffany chairs and 4 hours of open bar, including a sparkling wine toast.

In addition, the couple will also receive 2 Nights All Inclusive complimentary accommodations, Upgrade to suite and a full wedding coordinator for any additional needs.

On the night of the wedding, the couple’s room will be decorated with the resort’s signature romantic setting rich with chocolate dipped strawberries and sparkling white wine.

Puerto Vallarta has the sun, the beach, and the beautiful blue ocean year round. It’s the perfect mix with plenty of romantic beachfront backdrops, as well as a very fun, charming local Mexican village, just 10 minutes from the resort.

For reservations please visit www.costasurpuertovallarta.com

gay weddings puerto vallarta

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Gay Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM-Netherlands-

 

24 gay hours in Amsterdam.
By Sebastián Sáenz @sebastiaenz

Welcome to one of the major gay capitals of the world. The Netherlands have shown for decades that this country is not only broadminded, but a true trendsetter when it comes to cultural, social and political progress. Historic, beautiful and a tad rainy, Amsterdam has much more to offer than wooden shoes, tulips and windmills.

amsterdam gay pride events

Any tourist with a little self respect must cover a few basics. The Palace at the city center is an imperial masterpiece. The Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh’s museum are musts for art connoisseurs and lovers. Not visiting Anne Frank’s mouse hole is unforgivable. Misbehaving in one of those famous coffee shops and satisfying your thirst of curiosity at the Red Light district is expected. A nice boat tour in the canals should not be missed. Buying a good (and necessary) trench coat and exquisite cheese is mandatory. And yes, a tour at the Heineken headquarters will set almost anyone in an excellent mood. But what can an LGBTQ tourist do in one day in Amsterdam?

amsterdam gay pride

Ironically, facing the Westerkerk Church in the city center, people can find the Homomonument: three pink granite triangles that combined form a massive one (36 meters on each side), honoring the homosexual victims of WWII. One of these triangles is floor level, another one is as high as most people’s knees, and the last one forms stairs that go down the Keizersgracht canal (usually displaying flowers). This piece of the artist Karin Daan reads “Commemorates all women and men ever oppressed and persecuted because of their homosexuality. Supports the international lesbian and gay movement in their struggle against contempt, discrimination and oppression. Demonstrates that we are not alone. Calls for permanent vigilance. Past, present, and future are represented by the three triangles on this square.”

Tourists can also buy a few rainbow themed souvenirs in the little kiosk next to the monument. If, however, a little kiosk is not enough, shopaholics can walk along Warmoesstraat, where LGBTQ boutiques and leather shops such as Condomerie, Mr. B and RoB are almost one next to the other (don’t forget a porcelain couple of boys kissing). Regarding scandalous museums, Amsterdam has one dedicated exclusively to sex, and even though it mostly talks about straight sex, there are a few same-sex displays.

 

amsterdam gay travel bikes

To grab a bite, the popular Bistro Bij Ons is owned by two lesbians who offer great traditional food, La Margatirta on Reguliersdwarsstraat is in the heart of the gay scene for those craving for Caribbean food, and on that same street, Saturnino, for Italian. Let’s talk about drinks, dancing and flirting. Fun choices for barhopping are Getto, The Queen’s Head and Taboo (don’t forget to ask the cute bartender for a tasty Limoncello Prosecco). But for those who enjoy NC-17 Rated experiences (gloryholes and leather for instance), Eagle is the best choice.

 

This is the marvelous capital of the first country to extend marriage laws to include same-sex couples, so expectations are quite high. Amsterdam has one of the biggest Pride parties in the world, where instead of cars and streets, attendees see people “march” on boats in the canals. So enjoy the Netherlands, and careful with the bikes!

 

AMSTERDAM CITY TOURS can help you with all of your sight seeing needs! The most exciting guided tours in Amsterdam! Guided tours through some of the most fascinating parts and places of Amsterdam and Holland. Amsterdam City Tours prides itself on the fact that all its tours benefit from the experience and knowledge of real Amsterdam experts. Any tour can be tailored to your personal needs.

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Gay Travel Mexico City

 

gay-travel-mexico-city-best-attractions

10 things a gay tourist must do in Mexico City

By Sebastián Sáenz @sebastiaenz
(For Spanish – GO HERE)

Attention all gay tourists: Mexico City brings it all! We are talking about one of the biggest cities in the world with so much to offer you’ll need holidays after your holidays just to recover. And even though it’s chaotic, the traffic is constant and it’s packed everywhere, believe me, it’s worth, and you’ll even want to recommend it and come back.

And, before we start, just a few tips. Rush hours are from 7 am to 10 am and from 5 pm to 9 pm, so you might want to stay in one place during those times, or walk if you want to go somewhere. Public transportation is cheap, I recommend to use taxi apps or taxis your hotel gets for you, the subway is usually faster and safer than buses, the Metrobús is ok but usually busy, and as for green options, the city counts with a public bicycle service. Also, this is the second city with more museums in the world, so get ready for a lot of culture. Even though the city is relatively safe, tourists may want to dress discretely, not show huge expensive gadgets everywhere, and avoid lonely streets late at night; just in like most big cities. And of course, this is one of the friendliest cities in the world, so feel free to peck or hold hands in public, since most people are relatively tolerant. So, let’s begin:

 

1: Bus Tour
As a tourist myself a technique that has helped me quite a bit is, as soon as I arrive to a new city, I take the bus tour in order to get a lot of basic information in a few hours, see where everything is, how far things are, and what I want to visit calmly. Mexico City actually has several hop-on-and-off-bus-tours, so manage your time wisely: City Center (more historic), Polanco (one of the poshest areas in the city), South (traditional), Guadalupe Basilica (more religious), Canteens, Lucha Libre, Palaces and Nocturne. Ask at your front desk the nearest station to hop on! turibus.com.mx

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2: Chapultepec
This is one of the most beautiful areas in the city, with a huge forest, lakes, cultural activities such as folk performances and ballet, the Anthropology Museum, the Estela de Luz Structure, and the Castle, with a breathtaking view of the city. Subway stations: Auditorio (Orange line) and Chapultepec (Pink Line).

3: Colonia Roma
This might be the best area to eat ANYTHING you want, and for any pocket. In this nice and welcoming neighborhood, most of the best restaurants are on Álvaro Obregón Av. and its surroundings. I particularly recommend the trendy Mercado Roma (Querétaro 225). Stations: Subway- Insurgentes (Pink line) and Chilpancingo (Brown line). Metrobús: Álvaro Obregón, Sonora, Michoacán and Campeche (Red Line).

4: Coyoacán
A very traditional neighborhood. The two main plazas host the church, the kiosk and the Coyotes Fountain. There are plenty of excellent restaurants such as Corazón de Maguey and bars with live music such as El Hijo del Cuervo. A few blocks away you can find the Frida Kahlo Museum and the park, Viveros. A cart churro, a street ice cream and a coffee from Café La Selva are true musts. Subway stations: General Anaya (Blue Line).

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5: Shopping
Our kryptonite. For those who enjoy the best labels, Presidente Masaryk Av. at Polanco is a must, where you would find the up-scale international designers (Polanco subway station, Orange line). For malls with cinemas, restaurants, food courts, and of course, shops; Perisur (Perisur Metrobús station, Red Line), Antara (Polanco subway station), 222 (Insurgentes subway Station, Pink line) and Santa Fe (only accessible by car) might be the best shopping options of the city. And for a cheap and wide variety of art crafts, the Ciudadela Market in the City Center (Juárez subway station, Olive Green line) is THE place. If you are looking for High Mexican Design (not sombreros or ponchos), Pineda Covalín is one of the top fashion houses that portrays traditional designs.

6: Teotihuacán

The heart of the Aztec Civilization. This is one of the biggest historic paros of América, displaying the iconic Sun and Moon Pyramids yoga aficionados love to meditate by. This site is actually about an hour away from Mexico City, and might take a whole day to visit, but it’s worth the road trip. I STRONGLY recommend the Aerostat Balloon Tour, might be a bit expensive and you probably want to book in advance, but the sights are simply sublime (globosaerostaticosteotihuacan.tk). Don’t forget your sun screen!
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7: La Condesa
This is definitely the trendiest area of the city. Young couples, hipsters, fashionistas… everyone wants a piece of La Condesa. Facing La Roma (opposite side of Insurgentes Av.), this neighborhood offers a massive range of restaurants, parks for romantic and canine walks, stores, coffe shops, weekend bazaars, but above all, the best bars to start any memorable night. Any bar on Tamaulipas St., Michoacán St., or around Mexico’s Park or La Cibeles Fountain (such as Wallace Bar or the terrace of the posh Codesa DF Boutique Hotel) is very likely to be quite busy at night, even during the week, but is the place to see and be seen.

8: City Center
Of course the Historic City Center has to be on the list. At “El Zócalo”, tourists can find the National Palace (with murals of Diego Rivera, Frida’s husband), the Cathedral, Bellas Artes Palace, the Central Alameda, the Templo Mayor Museum, and the pedestrian Madero Av. (with shops and restaurants). The quintessential traditional restaurant is Café Tacuba, but I recommend the terrace of the ancient Mexico Hotel, with the best view of El Zócalo. Subway stations: Zócalo (Blue line) and Bellas Artes (Blue and Green line).

9: Nightlife
What you’ve been craving. Even though there are LGBT clubs all over the city, this is how I would arrange a crazy weekend of tequila shots and phone numbers: one trashy and cheap night at the City Center’s Marrakech Salón, Marra 2.0 and La Purísima (Bellas Artes subway station), one trendy and up-scale night at Envy (only Friday) or Guilt (only Saturday) (Polanco subway station), and a universal night barhopping at Zona Rosa (Insurgentes subway and Metrobús stations), the gay district. The pink zone has clubs for all, such as Lollipop (with Karaoke), Nicho (for bears), El Taller (underground just for men), Botas (strip club) and Kinky (probably the most popular). The key is to get to Amberes St. and just go with the flow.

10: Reforma

The Mexican Champs Élysées. On this avenue tourists will find the emblematic Angel of Independence Monument (the symbol of the city), the Diana the Hunter Fountain, the National Auditorium (where Coldplay and Shakira have performed, just to name a couple), Chapultepec and Zona Rosa, and it’s also very close to the City Center. It is the perfect way to finish any week since, on Sundays, the central lanes are closed for bicycles, roller skates, roller blades, dogs and baby strollers during the day. Stations: Subway- Chapultepec, Sevilla or Insurgentes (Pink line). Metrobús- Reforma (Red line).

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Tipping Tips Around the World

tipping gay travel world

It’s hard enough trying to convert currency in your head while traveling – let alone, guess what kind of tip to leave someone.

Luckily we have apps for that!  Know when to tip and how to present the tip in over 30 countries. Tip the right amount in restaurants, hotels, taxis, salons and more. Global Tipping App for iphones.

For Android we have Tipping Bird.  This crafty accompaniment to your app collection handily helps you add a gratuity of an acceptable amount depending on what country you’re dining in. We know what you’re thinking – isn’t a 10% tip pretty customary? Nope!

In the USA the average tip is around 19% (since hospitality does not pay crap in the US) , in the Dominican Republic you’ll be disgraced if you don’t put down 10%, 6% will suffice in Norway where they make a decent hourly wage, and for the generous folk of Iceland, a tip is not necessary at all. In fact, in many locations worldwide, incorrect tipping is a topic that leads to great tension and offence.  Thankfully Tipping Bird is here to guide you on what percentage of the bill is the right amount to put down.

One small piece of advice – check your bill to see if a gratuity is already included in the expected payment. Overpaying can be just as offensive in some cultures as underpaying.

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Massacre Against LGBT People in Turkey

turkey anti gay travel

I myself,  have no desire to visit countries where I have to walk on eggshells  and  pretend to be straight. I do not want to worry  while traveling that my life could potentially be in danger.

A group calling itself the Young Islamic Defense has been canvasing the city of Ankara, Turkey with posters that call for anti-LGBT violence. The poster (pictured above) quotes a hadith, saying “If you see someone engaged in the dirty business of the tribe of Lot, kill the doer and the done both.” – Ankara is said to be “gay friendly”.

Via the internet, the Young Islamic Defense has defended its call to action, saying:

in order to show that Islam absolutely does not allow this situation, we have shared this hadith… Our wish is to learn the attitude Islam demands from us in light of the Qu’ran and the Sunnah, instead of the hodjas who cannot shout out what is rightful on television.

This news comes on the heels of recent violence against LGBT people in Turkey — when in late June Istanbul police attacked the city’s pride march with water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets.

[Story and Image via LGBTI News in Turkey]

 

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Gay Marriage in The Virgin Islands

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The Virgin Islands are the western island group of the Leeward Islands, which are the northern part of the Lesser Antilles, and form the border between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Politically, the eastern islands form the British Virgin Islands and the western ones form the Virgin Islands of the United States. The British Virgin Islands is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom comprising approximately 60 islands and cays including Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of five inhabited insular areas of the United States, along with American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico. The territory comprises a number of islands including St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island.

Previously, Virgin Islands Senate President Neville James raised eyebrows for his statement issued after the SCOTUS ruling saying “I’ve always known marriage to be an act between a man and a woman. Notwithstanding the Supreme Court decision, that is how it will remain. Call me old-fashioned, but it is what it is.”

Seems the islands  have had a change of heart….St Croix Source reports….Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp on Thursday signed an executive order bringing Virgin Island’s law into conformance with the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, Government House announced. The measure now awaits the signature of Senate President Neville James, who is acting lieutenant governor while Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter is out of the territory.

Mapp announced June 30 the Virgin Islands law defining marriage as only a union between a man and woman was null and void, and promised to issue an executive order to the effect.

“This ruling does not require any minister or person of faith to marry anyone they do not wish to marry or to change any religious documents in any way,” the governor said. “But the ruling does affect the behavior of civil society and, as governor of the Virgin Islands, I am responsible for the conduct and behavior of the public sector.”

“Accordingly I will be issuing an executive order which will set forth the parameters that will allow any and all legitimate marriage licenses in the nation to be recognized in the Virgin Islands.”

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Gay Prague Pride 2015

prague pride poster

The fifth edition of the Prague Pride festival will be held from Monday 10 August till Sunday 16 August 2015.

 

This years slogan will be “We all have a rainbow inside”, visualized by thermal camera pictures. With this theme Prague Pride invites everybody, straight and gay, to join the festival and support that we are all equal. The full festival program is just coming together and looks better than ever before.

The Pride Village will be the main meeting point of the festival, located on the beautiful Strelecky island in the middle of the Vltava river right next to the famous Charles Bridge. The Pride Village is not just a community place, where you can get general information about the festival and meet Czech LGBT organizations, but it is also a place where you can watch LGBT movies, play sports, relax and enjoy various performances.

Of course Prague Pride would not be complete without its famous parties. Dirty Dirty Dancing on Friday 14 August will welcome London’s top DJs Josh Caffe and Borja Peňa. The official After Party on Saturday 15 August in club Roxy will host Hoxton Whores from the UK, Marcelo de Lazari from Brazil, Jonty Skrufff & Fidelity Kastrow from Berlin, Michael Burian from Prague and many, many more.

On a more serious matter Prague Pride will offer space for debates and culture in the Pride House and Pride Theatre. It will bring some top artistic events to the city. Prague Pride visitors are given an extra week of the exhibition of the contemporary British artist Roger Hiorns at the Rudolfinum gallery . The Wenceslas Square will host the photo exhibition “Homophobia in Russia” by the World Press Photo 2015 winner Mads Nissen. On Friday 14 August the London Gay Men’s Chorus will perform at the National Theatre, while on that same day the Pride Village will see the world premiere of the dance Dogtown by Israeli choreographer Nadar Rosano.

One of the highlights of Prague Pride will be the Pride Voices event on Wednesday 12 August, when inspirational speakers will share their personal stories. This year Prague Pride is proud to announce that among the guests will be former Icelandic prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Dutch olympic medal winner Johan Kenkhuis, World Press Photo 2014 winner Jana Ašenbrennerová, Palestinian protagonist of the documentary ‘The invisible men’ Abdul Rawashda and Mr. Gay World Klaus Burkart from Germany. On Thursday 13 August the Business Forum welcomes BBC economics anchor, Evan Davis and Lord Browne, former BP CEO and author of “The Glass Closet”.

The main event of the Prague Pride festival will be the parade on Saturday 15 August. The march will start on the famous Wenceslas Square in the heart of Prague and then proceed through the historical city center all the way to Letna park where a big outdoor party with several DJ stages and an information market will be held.

The complete program will soon be released on our website www.praguepride.com. You can also find information about the Parade on our main Facebook Event Page here.

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Gay Travel Belize and El Secreto

romantic romance gay travel belize

Wedged between Mexico and Guatemala, the tiny and eclectic country of Belize has become one of the most popular eco tourism destinations in Central America. The weather is mild, the beaches are spectacular, the history is rich, and yes, it is a land of swaying palm trees, azure waters  and colorful sunsets.

This is an absolutely fascinating country and the only English and Spanish speaking nation immediately south of Mexico with which it shares a land border.

gay-travel-belize-central-america

I have some dear friends that have been going to Belize for over 20 years. In recent years Belize has been garnering major international buzz  and for sure there is no signs of it slowing down. With its amazing flora, fauna; breath taking natural resources; the quick accessibility to both a rain forest and a Caribbean beach complete with  palms and white sandy beaches are all reasons why people return to these shores year after year.

While the country is experiencing more tourists, and thus  more diversity in recent years, it’s still very much a conservative democracy. Public displays of affection of all kinds are generally discouraged. Some people will be shocked by gay PDA, so be discreet and mindful of the country’s attitudes. Just be respectful and enjoy the natural scenery; you’re sure to have a wonderful time.

Belize is a romantic and adventuresome destination where you can lounge in luxurious accommodations with a lover, or explore caves and go deep-sea diving with  friends. The  beautiful tranquility of the natural Belizean geographical features will leave you breathless though, so don’t let that small setback keep you from visiting this idyllic land!

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WHEN TO GO?   Anytime!  The average yearly temperature is 84° F (29°C), which means that it is pretty much near perfect all year round.

WHERE TO STAY?  There are more than 200 islands in Belize that are known as cayes (pronounced “keys”) that are easy accessible and can serve as ideal bases for fishing, snorkeling and diving. For me personally, I don’t care for the big international hotel chains – I prefer smaller, quaint and romantic places to stay.

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El Secreto nestles 13 exclusive individual thatched roof villas with a smart combination of contemporary and traditional elements. This beautiful gay friendly, Boutique Resort sits on the Caribbean beaches of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

(Temptation Island was filmed nearby on Ambergris, 36 miles north of Belize City, and the caye is the country’s liveliest, with open-air bars and restaurants spilling into the white sand in the main town, San Pedro.)

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Appointed with fine Belizean tropical woods, marble finished bathrooms with a tandem bathtub, outdoor private jacuzzi and shower patio. All the villas are equipped with a King size bed, a state of the art led lighting system, air conditioning, iPod dock station, LCD TV, mini bar, safe, hair dryer, Melita coffee maker, 400 thread Egyptian cotton Vivenda linens and Malin & Goetz amenities. They have made many  TOP 10 lists and won many awards for luxury experiences!

gay belize Lake Villa night

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Enjoy a unique dining experience at El Secreto Restaurant. A romantic setting where you can “feel” the breeze and admire a beautiful ocean view. It doesn’t get much better than this!

GET PAMPERED with Spa services. Ikal meaning “spirit” in Maya, will reconnect you to the essence of life. A wonderful natural setting where you will indulge to a peaceful atmosphere enjoying Island rituals with the benefits of the sea, bamboo, tropical fruits, spices and aromatherapy.

 

award-winning--LGBT-places-belize

A member of Design Hotels.

Award Winning El Secreto.

LIKE them on Facebook!

Browse rooms and pricing today for your luxurious getaway!

GETTING  TO BELIZE  is outlined on this page.

 

 

 

 

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Symbolic Gay Ceremony in Cuba

Mariela_Castro castros daughter gay marriage

Cuban gay rights activists led by the daughter of President Raul Castro planned a mass symbolic wedding   TODAY to promote acceptance of gay and transgender Cubans in a country once notoriously hostile toward them.

The ceremony was part of an annual gay pride parade and will be symbolic because same-sex marriage is illegal in Cuba, Mariela Castro told reporters. She  had said it would also be low key because Cuban society is still uneasy about full rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“We can’t do a wedding, but we wanted to have a very modest celebration of love with some religious leaders,” said Castro, head of the National Sex Education Center and a member of Cuba’s National Assembly. “In the future we’ll see what more we can do.”

The ceremony was inspired by the mass wedding of more than 100 couples at the World Pride event in Toronto last June, Castro said.

VIDEO FOOTAGE  HERE

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Beyond Puerto Vallarta – Riviera Nayarit

four seasons punta mita riviera nayarit

When you arrive at PVR airport, you head south through the  Marina Vallarta Hotel Zone to get to Puerto Vallarta. If you head north instead, that takes you to Riviera Nayarit which begins at  Nuevo Vallarta and continues north with 200 miles of coastal beauty framed by the majestic Sierra Madre Mountains that more and more LGBT travelers are now discovering.

A number of hotels in Riviera Nayarit have recently been accredited as “LGBT friendly,” including the top-end Four Seasons Punta Mita. (above).

mexcaltitan island riviera nayarit

From Punta Mita, a secluded beach oasis known for luxury resorts, to peaceful Mexcaltitán Island*, the birthplace of the Aztec civilization, Riviera Nayarit offers traditional and friendly seaside villages, lush jungles, colonial history and quiet beaches. With an array of gay-friendly hotels, bars, restaurants, spas, stores and tourist excursions, LGBT travelers can choose a vacation that best fits their style and mood. (*You’ve never seen anything like it. Mexcaltitán Island, located northwest of Santiago Ixcuintla, is quite literally a magical place.)

Riviera Nayarit is less touristy and more refined than Puerto Vallarta, but is an equally fabulous holiday paradise with a visible, relaxed gay community. There are numerous beachside towns to explore by car, waves to surf, and tantalizing food to eat.

Hotel_MarivalResidences_view

Gay-owned establishments include Billy Bob’s bar in the historic port of San Alas, whose surroundings are the prime bird watching spot of the northern hemisphere, and the Xaltemba restaurant gallery in the town of La Peñita. The “hippy chic” town of Sayulita with its eclectic mix of cultures and surfing attracts the LGBT market year round.

beaches riviera nayarit mexico

Ultimately it’s the area’s pristine beaches and wide-ranging activities – from whale watching to spa experiences – with its luxury properties and diverse coastal towns, which are the biggest draw. Many of Hollywood’s celebrities have been coming here, because it is less touristy and there many 5 star resorts. Riviera Nayarit’s luxurious accommodations, top restaurants and chefs, matchless nature, and growing number of attractions for cosmopolitan visitors have led Riviera Nayarit to be one of the new top tourist destinations in Mexico for members of the LGBT community.

Hotel_St. Regis_CascadePool

The region attracts and satisfies vacationers of all tastes and budgets with its wide range of accommodations including chic luxury resorts, eco-tourism boutique hotels and quaint B&B inns. Riviera Nayarit is recognized as a “Virtuoso Preferred Destination.” In 2015, Riviera Nayarit was recognized by Travel Weekly as “Mexico’s new holiday destination on the Pacific coast,” by Yahoo! Travel as “Mexico’s New Playground” and on Conde Nast Traveller UK 2015 Hot Destinations List.

It’s an ideal place for anyone looking to be close enough to the LGBT action without actually being in the thick of it, as Puerto Vallarta’s main LGBT scene is between a 30 to 45 minute drive away.

 

Contact Dave for all your LGBT travel needs worldwide:

dave@donovantravel.com
(401) 942-7700        1-800-942-1280

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Will the Euro Stop Dropping?

euro drops in value vs  US dollar

For US Travelers,  Europe is  a great DEAL!  For the last 10 years, I avoided countries that are on the Euro. Instead, I would go to Prague, Budapest and Croatia – it was always a better deal.  But now with the Euro dropping…..

A few years  ago  1  Euro =  $1.50. This week, 1 Euro  = $1.08

Analysts  say, The euro is going down because several of the key economies of Europe are heading into deflation, which is always a greater fear than average inflation.  European leaders are planning to apply quantitative easing strategies in March that will probably work to reverse the deflation but will likely not strengthen the euro relative to the dollar as QE increases the supply of euros.  The fact is that a weak euro will hurt the USA more than it will hurt Europe as it  impacts tourism from Europe and lowers the cost of imported products and services from Europe.

It’s a “Catch 22”  I guess; Americans are expected to  pour millions of dollars into the Old World as the value of goods and services decreases overseas.  But there is only so much money to go around…U.S. could  see a shortfall of tourists, which could wreak havoc on cities that depend on income from their vacations. Among those metropolises is New York City, which could experience a drop off of up to $30 billion in tourism dollars in the next year, or 50 percent of the current total, according to the New York Post.

Who knows?!

 

 

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Mexico Tourism Launches New Gay App

gay mexico app gayde

MEXICO’S Federal Secretary of Tourism is promoting new gay travel app MéxicoGayde (@MexicoGayde), reports SDPnoticias.com.

The app promises to list all gay-friendly destinations in Mexico including bars, restaurants, theaters, spas, exhibitions and NGOs. MéxicoGayde will also allow you to review and rate venues.

Download MéxicoGayde here.

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Greece Moves Towards Marriage Equality

Greece-Athens-Academy-gay-marriage

ABC News / AP  reports

Greece’s new left-wing government has promised to grant same-sex couples legal status, in response to a 2013 international court decision condemning the country for discrimination.

Justice Minister Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos told parliament Monday that civil partnerships, first legislated in 2008, would be extended to gay couples but did not say when the changes were planned.

The pledge was made two weeks after the left-wing Syriza party ousted conservatives in a general election and formed a coalition government with a right-wing, anti-bailout party, one which in the past has opposed awarding gay partners legal status.

 

In other  news…ITALY   says  NO   to Gay  Marriage!

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Singapore’s Changi International Airport RAIN Art

Kinetic Rain Singapore's Changi International Airport

WOW!

I have never been to this airport  – yet – a friend of mine just saw this!

 

World’s largest kinetic art sculpture unveiled at Changi Airport
SINGAPORE,  2012 — Passengers and airport visitors entering the Departure Check-in Hall at Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 (T1) can expect to stop in their tracks and be captivated by a new art installation. Kinetic Rain, as it is titled, takes pride of place at the terminal, enthralling visitors with its fluidity, distinctive shapes, elegant and refined movements and precision-perfect technology.

Kinetic Rain, installed as part of T1’s recent refurbishment, is the icon of the revamped Departure Check-in Hall. This specially commissioned sculpture, a first in an airport globally, comes as a pair, each installed several metres apart from each other and visible from many areas of the Departure Check-in Hall.

Kinetic Rain is made up of 1,216 bronze droplets that transform elegantly into multiple shapes, akin to poetry in motion. Carrying an aviation theme, the key element in every shape shows the movement of flight through slow, fluid movements. Some of the more recognisable shapes include an aeroplane, hot air balloon and a kite. One can also make out a dragon and a flock of birds amongst the 16 different programmed segments.

Each droplet is connected to motors installed in the ceiling of the Departure Check-in Hall. The motors contain a high precision rotary encoder which keeps track of the exact position of each droplet. A computer programme is used to control the movement of the droplets to form Kinetic Rain’s unique shapes and patterns. A video on the making-of Kinetic Rain can be viewed here.

Kinetic Rain was created over a span of 20 months. Artists, programmers and technologists were engaged to analyse the space available at T1 and conceptualise a masterpiece that would be representative of the new terminal. The refurbished T1 is aptly themed ‘Tropical City’ in keeping with Singapore’s garden city status and where rain, is very much a part of the tropical climate.

Mr Yeo Kia Thye, Senior Vice President for Airport Operations, Changi Airport Group, said, “When we decided to upgrade Terminal 1 in 2008, we were mindful that people have fond memories of the terminal including the old Mylar Cords, the circular curtain of water that straddled three stories of the building. We wanted an art sculpture, which we found in Kinetic Rain, that was able to add the signature touch linking back to T1’s illustrious past in a new and exciting way.

“With more than a thousand raindrops working together in harmony, Kinetic Rain also symbolises the thousands in the airport community who work together every day to provide our passengers and visitors with a positively surprising and memorable Changi Experience.”

An audio commentary and official video are also available for visitors who wish to know more about Kinetic Rain. All they have to do is scan the QR code present at the display boards at the T1 Departure Check-in Hall with their smartphones. For more information about the refurbished T1, please visit: www.changiairport.com/terminal1

About Changi Airport Group

Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd (CAG) (www.changiairportgroup.com) was formed on 16 June 2009 and the corporatisation of Singapore Changi Airport followed on 1 July 2009. As the company managing Changi Airport, CAG undertakes key functions focusing on airport operations and management, air hub development, commercial activities and airport emergency services. Through its subsidiary Changi Airports International, the Group invests in and manages foreign airports to spread the success of Changi Airport internationally.

Changi Airport (www.changiairport.com) is the world’s most awarded airport having garnered more than 400 accolades since it opened in 1981. To serve passengers and visitors from the world over, there are 360 retail stores and 130 F&B outlets across the airport’s four terminals. Changi handled more than 46 million passenger movements in 2011, an annual record. Today, it serves some 100 airlines flying to over 220 cities in about 60 countries and territories worldwide. A flight takes off or lands at Changi roughly once every 100 seconds.

WATCH

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Incredible Travel Experiences

sistine chapel gay travel

According to my Trip Advisor  account,  I have been to 51 cities in 9 countries. I was feeling kind of proud – until I read this article on LIFE HACK, 50 Incredible Travel Experiences to Have in Your Lifetime!

Seems  I have done  NONE OF THEM!

tigers nest gay travel

Most are in countries I have not seen yet – and some countries I really don’t care to visit.  Just because any of our travel experiences are not on this list – does not lessen  their  value.  So what I have not been to India. or Peru.

gay travel paris france

I HAVE been to Paris and sat at a sidewalk cafe and people watched;

I HAVE been to Budapest and seen the ornate bath houses;

I HAVE been to Prague and looked over the city of spires from the TV Tower;

I HAVE been to New York City and admired the Twin Towers before they fell;

I HAVE been to Hocking Hills  Ohio and walked inside the majestic caves and forest;

I HAVE been to the Grand Canyon….

An incredible travel experience can be anywhere – and different  for everyone…

What have been YOUR BEST travel experiences?

 

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Queer Carnavale in Nice France

Carnaval2015_LouQueernaval_GB

“Lou Queernaval” is registered in the official program of the Nice Carnival, that attracts every year more than one million visitors on the French Riviera.The parade will start on Friday, February 27, 2015, from 09.00 pm, on the Place Massena, in the heart of the city.

The King and Queen, symbols of the Carnival will lead dancers, floats, queer creatures and artists, in a friendly and frenzy atmosphere, made of music and surprises!

Between feathers, sequins and extravagant make-up, a fantastic entertainment program is in preparation … Around Carnival and flower parades, emblems of the event, many other events throughout the city and LGBTI’s institutions will extend the magic of Nice Carnival throughout the weekend.Nice is waiting for you! Come and forget the harsh winter with the French Riviera’s sunny atmosphere. The whole city will liveas one and beat time to the rhythm of the boisterous music. Everyone can participate, one condition: be disguised!
www.lou-queernaval.com
www.nicecarnaval.com
en.nicetourisme.com
Se désabonner
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Gay Travel Kyrgyzstan…NOT

anti lgbt map Kyrgyzstan

Last  October, the Kyrgyz version of the notorious Russian law against “gay propaganda” passed its first reading by a vote of 79 to 7. Following one more reading, the bill will reach President Almazbek Atambayev’s desk, where it is almost certain to pass into law. Legislators even proposed that the minimum sentence for making reference to homosexuality be increased from one year to three.
Kyrgyzstan’s close affiliation with Russia inspired the law, and the Kyrgyz version is even tougher. To protect “traditional Kyrgyz values and families,” the law states, any “positive image of nontraditional sexual relations” will be prohibited. Anyone caught distributing a photo, writing an article, or posting on Facebook about homosexuality will face up to a year imprisonment.
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